Quella Vecchia Locanda - s/t. 1972 Italy

If there's an album that defines the Italian progressive rock movement of the early 1970s, then my selection would be Quella Vecchia Locanda's debut. Not the best album the scene has to offer, but the most representative. This one has it all - and then some. The gatefold cover alone is perfect. Like finding yourself perched atop an abandoned Medieval hill town. What did this old inn once house? What stories does it hold within the remaining beams and gnarled branches? It's just this inquisitiveness that captured my young mind's imagination when first deep diving into this once unknown genre some 30 years ago.

For the music, you get the complete palette. The keyboards are diverse - Mini-Moog, Hammond organ, and piano. The guitars are electric and acoustic, and rock hard when necessary with a decidedly heavy tone. The rhythm section appears well trained in the arts. The vocals are histrionic, but on point. And best of all, you not only get one extra key period instrument, but two! Rare is the album where both flute and violin share the limelight together. The dynamics are what is to be expected - diverse and unpredictable. If you're already defiantly not a fan of the genre, QVL will not change that opinion. If you're a member though, Quella Vecchia Locanda will not disappoint in the slightest. Table stakes for any Italian prog collection honestly.

Personal collection
LP: 1972 Help!
LP: 1989 Edison (Japan)
CD: 2003 BMG (Japan)

Here's where I'd love to tell you a story about how I found the original LP while rummaging around a Goodwill in the 1980s. But alas not in this case. In fact, it was a recent acquisition via a major trade with a well known German dealer. The original and Japanese LPs (and mini LP's) are all gatefolds that are "top loaded". My first copy was the 1990 Italian reissue, and it's a standard gatefold. The colors on the Italian reissue are also much darker than the original.

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